Because* of the steadfast love (hesed) of Yahweh we have not ceased to exist; his mercies never come to an end. (Lam 3:22)
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible because it is so shocking. I find myself asking, why does Yahweh’s steadfast love run out? If ever there was a time that His love was justified in running out, this was it. The nation of Israel, which Yahweh had redeemed out of Egypt and led into the promised land had rebelled against Him repeatedly for nearly the whole seven centuries they lived in the land. Why does He continue to relent? Why does He continue to pursue them? And what if His love had stopped there?
Have you ever thought about that? What if God’s plan of redemption had been scrapped as the exiles were marched off to captivity? What unspeakable grace and mercy that He did not give up there! Oh how marvelous is His continual pursuit of His wayward people! Behold your God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love!
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
(Romans 11:33-36 ESV)
*This translation does not follow most English translations, but is probably more faithful to the Hebrew text
Jesus upholds the universe by the word of his power (Heb 1:3). If he stops speaking, you cease existing. The very laws of nature, are his words in action. Have you thought about that lately? God spoke, and the universe came into existence out of nothing. He breathed life into Adam, and did not destroy him when he fell. Are you in awe yet?
This is a friend of ours named Josh Smith from Memphis that my wife Kolby knows from high school. He leads worship at Christ United Methodist Church. These are a couple songs from the two CDs he’s released under the name Cities Apart. You can find more info and chord charts at http://citiesapartband.com/ or buy the songs on iTunes.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1 John 2:1-2 ESV)
These verses struck me as I was working through 1 John 2 tonight. John writes, “so that you may not sin.” He sets out with this purpose, but clearly recognizes that Christians still sin. He doesn’t take that opportunity to beat us up for our failure. Rather, he points to our advocate. Jesus stands at the Father’s side, reminding Him, not of our failure to live up to his righteous standard, but of his own righteousness on our behalf. Christ pleads the merits of his blood, shed for us.
The word translated propitiation here, likely refers both to the satisfaction of the Father’s wrath against sin and to the expiation – the wiping away of our sin. The propitiation means that God is no longer angry. We no longer need to fear punishment! Jesus took our punishment! And not only this, but he is continually our righteousness, and every time we sin, he wipes the slate clean!
What good news this is to us as we struggle! Jesus Christ the righteous is our advocate! And so we say with the psalmist “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you!” (Ps 73:25)
This is not what I normally use my blog for, but it’s my blog, so who’s gonna stop me? The guys at church laugh at me. It’s become a running joke how many guitars and amps I have gone through, but I’m at it again. I love trying new things, so I go through a lot of gear. It’s become a bit of a hobby to shop around and find good stuff and trade with people. And I’ve met some cool people doing it, so it’s a win-win.
Prices are for a local sale in Memphis, TN. Otherwise, I could ship and take Paypal, but that’s on you.
Gretsch Country Classic $1500
It’s in nice shape, with Bigsby. I believe this is a 2002. Strap locks, OHSC.
PRS Starla $1100 SOLD
PRS Humbucking pups hwith coil splitting and a Bigsby. This is an extremely versatile guitar! They started making these in ’07, but I’m not sure the exact year. Dunlop strap locks, OHSC.
Fender American Standard Telecaster $700 SOLD
Blizzard pearl with two single coil Tele pups. Rosewood neck. 2009 model in like new condition. Dunlop strap locks and OHSC.
65 Amps Marquee Head w/2×12″ cab and road case (fits the head and cab together). Has been on tour and has a few signs of wear, but sounds phenomenal.
Would sell the head for $1500 SOLD
Cab for $650 (no pictures of the cab, but the condition is very similar to the head) sOLD
Road case for $300 SOLD
To sell the cab, I have to find another amp, which mean the head has to sell first. Really would prefer to trade for a Morgan.
Boss DD-7 $110 SOLD
It’s a Boss delay pedal. Internal or external tap tempo and looping. In good shape with velcro. It’s sturdy and reliable.
Trades I’m interested in would be a Gibson ES-137 (or something similar), a Morgan amp in head/cab config (prefer EL84s and EF86), or a tube mic in the $1500 and under range (Advanced Audio, Lawson, ADK Custom Shop, Pearlman, Soundelux).
If you’re interested, leave me a comment or Tweet me.
This is a great song by a friend of ours called “White Page.” As good as the song is, the video is even better. Check it out.
I hear so many people talk about community in the church. We want to develop community. We want to foster community. We want to use the word as many times as we can so everyone knows we value community. But there is a danger in all this talk of community becoming little more than a buzz word that we use to identify ourselves, especially over and against those other churches, who don’t have such great community as we do (or so we tell ourselves).
I read a book about self-deception for one of my seminary classes called I Told Me So. One of the arguments in it that stuck out to me the most is that the things we value most often become the areas where we are most easily self-deceived and least likely to listen to correction. When we value things more than we should, they become untouchable. We find it nearly impossible to reassess the priorities closest to our hearts. What does this have to do with community?
In the church, it is easy to talk about valuing community without getting into the nitty gritty of putting it into practice. Sure you may say you value community, but do those around you feel like they belong? Are there outsiders in your church? People who don’t quite fit in? When they speak up about their frustrations, do you even hear them? Have you become so enamored with the successes of your community-shaping endeavor, that you don’t understand when someone feels like they aren’t a part of your super awesome close-knit tight community?
In all our talk about community, it’s easy to miss the fact that community is not an end in itself. Community itself is an elusive goal. The goal instead should be love and unity in truth, the natural result of which is community. If you are shooting for community, but not seeking love and truth, you will never find it. If you are not actively loving people, speaking the truth, and hearing people when they speak the truth to you, there can be no community.
So let’s talk about community. But let’s recognize the priority of love and truth. Let’s be open to the truth that our community may not be the best thing since sliced bread. We may just be insiders (and who doesn’t love having a good group of friends?). But the outsiders disagree with our assessment of how super sweet our community is. Are we listening?